Britons are extremely angry about the toppling and removal of statues during the Black Lives Matter protests.
As I pointed out in a previous article on the subject, a number of politicians have called for the removal of these statues in the past because of the racist and often violent legacies that they commemorate, but were unsuccessful.
If the government refuses to acknowledge a problem, sometimes the problem has a way of sorting itself out.
Now, some older Brits, and one guy who looks like his mom made him tag along, are standing guard over statues:
Other statues across Britain are also under geriatric protection.
While the Black Lives Matter movement took the removal of statues into their own hands, some members of the so-called ‘far-right’ decided to retaliate – and that’s where Mandela comes into all of this.
The targeting of Mandela’s statue by far-right protesters, comes after a statue of slave owner Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into a river during a Black Lives Matter protest in the UK.
A Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded in Boston and more are being attacked, while former British prime minister Winston Churchill’s statue was sprayed with graffiti.
Britain First leader Paul Golding is reportedly among those who called for Madiba’s statue to be torn down.
In response to the threats from right-wingers, the British government boarded up the statue to keep it safe.
Why tearing down a statue of Colston is not the same as tearing down a statue of Nelson Mandela shouldn’t need to be explained, but Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, sums it up perfectly:
Mandla Mandela (below as a child) said the statue of Edward Colsten, a symbol of white supremacy, should not be compared to Mandela’s because instead of inspiring admiration, it invokes disgust and anger.
“It’s nothing new to us as a family. In 1984 the Greater London Council (GLC) invited the then president of the ANC Oliver Tambo to unveil a bust of Madiba in South Bank.
Around 1988 on my visit I found the bust had been defaced and vandalised. All that remained was the stone the bust was meant to be standing on. So, utterances [like those] of Paul Golding are nothing new. It is merely more of the same drivel, that Madiba was a terrorist, communist and mass murderer.”
Mandela’s statue wasn’t the only one to be boarded up. Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi’s statues saw the same treatment.
The boards have since been removed from all three statues ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to London.
It’s worth noting that most news coverage has focused on the boarding up of the Churchill statue under threat from the Black Lives Matter protests, and pays little mind to the right-wing attacks on Madiba’s memorial.
[Mandla] Mandela offered his support to the Black Lives Matter campaign, saying it was more than just a local racial problem, and also questioned US foreign policy.
“The BLM campaign should therefore not be seen or regarded as a racial problem but rather a problem of oppressed nations around the globe.”
All the far-right has succeeded in doing by threatening the statue of Mandela is to further alert the world to the systemic racism and bigotry that Black Lives Matter is protesting.
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